Officials at Georgia Highlands College have seen enrollment rise this year over last year’s fall numbers.
The figures settled at a total of 5,523 students on all campuses for the fall 2011 semester, compared to 5,235 last fall—an increase of 5.2 percent.
According to Cathy Ledbetter, dean of the Paulding Campus of Georgia Highlands, the Dallas-based site has an attendance of 418 this year—7.5 percent of the cross-campus total. The number is up from 306 last fall. That’s about a 26-percent increase.
What led to such a jump in enrollment for Georgia Highlands? Simple realization of existence, Ledbetter says.
“More and more, people are realizing that we are located in Dallas,” she says. “The current students, word of mouth … it’s just growing. We’re putting in a few more efforts in recruitment (as well).”
Ledbetter added that no applications were rejected by officials at the Paulding campus this year.
Dana Davis, the school’s director of College Relations, was unable to give Patch an accurate racial breakdown for this semester, but she was able to bring up statistics for last year’s enrollment. She suspects that the trends will not waver this year.
According to Davis, Caucasian students at Georgia Highlands made up 76.5 percent of the student body at the Paulding campus in fall 2010. About 13.3 percent of the students were African-American, 5.7 percent Hispanic, 1.8 percent Asian and 0.3 percent Native American. Davis says the remaining 2.4 percent embodies multi-racial students.
“I can tell you that numbers have been going up pretty steadily for the Hispanic population,” she said.
According to her figures, the number of Hispanic students enrolled at all Georgia Highlands campuses was 106 in the fall of 2006. From there it went to 156 in 2007, 188 in 2008, 247 in 2009, and 301 in 2010.
Davis also says that African-American enrollment is also steadily climbing.
“There’s been a concerted effort by the [University Systems of Georgia] especially to recruit and retain African-American males, because their numbers were just abysmal,” she said, referring to the USG’s African-American Male Initiative, a program that specifically targets African-American males and seeks to keep them in school and get them their degrees.
“We’ve been very, very successful with that here at Georgia Highlands,” Davis says. “We’re working on it, because we realize that population is underserved.”
Davis also mentioned that Georgia Highlands is actively working on diversifying its student population.
“We have an entire program; a diversity initiative that we’re working on,” she said. “It’s across all campuses, and we’re really concentrating on that.”